In a shock announcement recently, Microsoft president Steve Ballmer revealed that the software giant will allow resellers and other channel partners to customise the appearance of the Blue Screen of Death (B-SOD), the screen that displays when the Windows operating system crashes.
The move followed numerous focus groups and customer surveys done by Microsoft. In response to the question "What do you spend the most time doing on your computer?" a surprising number of respondents said, "Staring at the Blue Screen of Death."
"At 54 per cent, it was easily the top answer, beating the second place answer 'Downloading XXX scans' by an easy 12 points," a company spokesperson told Tabloid.
And according to an ebullient Ballmer: "We immediately recognised this as a great opportunity for ourselves, our channel partners, and especially our customers."
According to sources, users will be able to select from a collection of "B-SOD themes", allowing them to instead have a Mauve or even a Paisley SOD. Graphics and multimedia content can now be incorporated into the screen, making the B-SOD the perfect conduit for delivering information and entertainment to Windows users.
Microsoft channel partners can negotiate with Microsoft for the right to customise the B-SOD on systems they ship. Major computer resellers such as Compaq, Gateway, and Dell are understood to be lining up for premier placement on the new and improved B-SOD.
Introducing . . . Space Potato
by Space Potato
On a recent trip to acid-land, an ARN reportress dreamt of a hippie vendor handing out pink notebooks decorated with dozens of smileys (also known as e-faces). Imagine her surprise when she found out that some Nordic countries already practise the blasphemous business of owning NOT-Bs (notebooks other than black). Determined to get some colour into her life, she embarked on a search for a cutesy NOT-B. But - it was NOT to Be! An evil vendor trampled all over her daisy patch, saying that, while Aussies might be high on acid, they're not really high on mobile computing in "technicolour". So the hippie reportress decided to start a NOT-B liberation movement under the battle cry "We want girlie notebooks" and is now looking for underground collaborators ready to break into warehouses and paint smiley faces all over those black Porteges, Powerbooks and ThinkPads. We'll report on the "paint a notebook" revolution as it happens. Meanwhile, our spies report vendors are taking note. And we're not talking about the fruit-flavoured one!
Free publisher's children
by Sandy Cremorne
It seems the channel has a heart (and naturally Tabloid is the place where the heart and everything else that's covered up is uncovered). Paul Press, who heads up the local subsidiary of "the company formerly known as Dataproducts" - Hitachi Koki Imaging Solutions - is looking for support for his latest cause. Press has been moved to fight what he sees as exploitation of media executives' children. And his sights are currently set on ARN's own publisher, Susan Searle, whose children, Jonathan and Arabella, have been coerced to appear in a series of advertisements and promotional material for the publication.
Press is promoting the Australian chapter of the Free Indentured Children in India organisation, and has committed himself to fight such shameless exploitation of those unfortunates "indentured" to publishers.
And they met at the Virtual Chemistry Ball . . .
The ninemsn and Telstra Big Pond sponsored Virtual Chemistry Ball was THE place for IT channel singles to be recently, and judging from this snap, some more than virtual chemistry was made.
"The VC Web site and VC chat room is about promoting online communities," said organiser Karren Boyd. "The Virtual ball is an extension of this, and for some it was the first face to face with their virtual partner," she said.
And like any good romantic interlude, it's all in the name of charity with Sydney City Mission being the benefactors.
And who's pictured on the enchanted evening? Well even Tabloid can't say. He from a software integration company and she from a well-known distributor.